Saturday, September 11, 2010
Show #45 "Les Miserables: School Edition" with the Hi-Liners
And, once again, I tread onto the not-so-tried-and-true path of youth theatre. Watching shows performed by young actors between the ages of 9 and 19 can be a risky proposition at times. What will I be subjected to, I ask myself.
Will it be yet another evening of enthusiastic but struggling theatre novices offering me dialogue delivered with poor enunciation, little if any projection of their crackling voices and off-key and unsure singing?
Can you tell I've spent many an evening witnessing (with my adoring support) such productions?
This time, I had little choice. As the theatrical reviewer for the Highline Times/Des Moines News, my assignment (as it has been for the past many years) was to review the opening of the mainstage production by the youth theatre organization, The Hi-Liners. This year, they are doing "Les Miserables: School Edition."
Let me say this up front: the Hi-Liners are a class organization. Each year, over 40 young performers spend their summer vacations rehearsing a large cast musical, always done with high production values and professional level instruction. In other words, they do good work.
So, I was expecting a good show.
What I wasn't expecting was the astounding level of quality I saw in last evening's final dress rehearsal. Usually when I review a youth show for the newspaper, I need to be supportive and positive. This time, I didn't have to try. I wasn't just positive in my write-up, I was absolutely gushing.
Granted, there were some very young performers who were still learning the basics of their craft, and it showed at times. But, these youngsters were mostly in the background, playing supporting ensemble parts. In other words, these neophytes' lack of experience didn't distract at all.
It was the older teens, playing the principal roles who blew me away. After a few minutes into the show, I almost forgot how young these actors really were. That's how good they were.
Yes, I was gushing in my review. But, that's okay. I was happy. I was elated that the future of local theatre looks bright. With such talented young performers in our community, and dedicated adults who are nurturing their gifts, Seattle/Tacoma theatre is truly blessed.